If you are planning a trip overseas and you take medication, you have some pre-planning you need to do. Here are seven basic guidelines to help when planning your trip.
- Talk to your doctor or travel medical specialist before travelling about any medicines and / or medical devices you need to take with you when you travel. Make sure you include in that discussion not only prescription medication but also over the counter medicines and complementary / homeopathic medicines that you may be taking as well.
- Contact the Embassy or Consulate of the country you are travelling to if you or your doctor have any doubts or concerns about the medication and / or medical devices you will need to take with you into that country. Some medicines may not be legally allowed to be taken into another country or may contain ingredients that you need permission to take into another country. For example, Codeine is in medicine that is widely available in Australia but requires permission to take into some countries.
- Have your doctor prepare a letter detailing all prescription medication you will be taking with you and carry the letter with you when travelling. Your doctor should know what to include in the letter, including the name of the medicine, your dosage and that it is for personal use.
- Make sure your prescription medication has the appropriate dispensing labels on them setting out your name and dosage requirements.
- Take the medication in its original packaging so that it can be easily identified if your luggage is inspected. Do NOT remove it from its original packaging.
- Take the medication in your carry on luggage. If your luggage goes missing you will still have your medication.
- Take enough medication for your entire trip. You may not be able to get the same medication overseas and your prescription may not be valid in other countries. Yes that may mean you have to carry a lot of medication in its original packaging but you do not want to risk running out of medication.
As a good rule of thumb – if in doubt ask your doctor. If still in doubt – contact the Embassy or Consulate of the country/ies you are travelling to.
As a general rule, when we travel, we have the doctor include all potential medication that we carry with us – altitude sickness tablets for our trips at altitude, headache tablets that we can buy in a supermarket as well as any prescription medication we need to carry.